The Plotters Plot

Manako comes to visit Icela in her dream. They discovered that they have something in common: a desire to drive Narumi Nendai to despair.

Date: 2018-11-14
Pose Count: 12
Icela 2018-11-14 19:01:51 100318
The dark dream has shifted, large walls have been erected, though depending on approach they vary from mundane varieties like simple stone walls to fantastic ones such as walls of rose and thorn. This leads into mazes full of traps, with nightmares wandering about aimlessly, each fit for the kind of walls their section of maze is made of.

Past the maze lies an onyx spire, an outer spiral staircase leads up to the peak, several platforms on the way are home to nightmares. whereupon a meadow rests. Despite the spire being invisible from within the maze, from the top of the spire one can view the maze in its entirety up there. The meadow is empty but for the single warped tree upon which Icela rests and the scattered pages containing drawings of people.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 19:11:50 100319
Maboroshi no Manako flows into the dream. While it's harder to gauge the emotional state of a roiling mass of shadows which is either covered or filled in eyes, there's just something about the old Nightmare's bearing which seems troubled. Her body is spread out more than it is in battle, in a way that seems a bit more relaxed.

She pauses, the fuchsia eye focused on the entrance to the maze for a moment. Her form rises off the ground, attempting to see over the walls of the maze, but then settles back down.

And then she stops at the entrance to the maze, and waits. She hasn't been invited in, after all. When she isn't specifically invading, Maboroshi no Manako is nothing if not polite when it comes to entering someone else's dream.
Icela 2018-11-14 19:17:01 100320
There's no explicit invitation for Mabaroshi no Manako, but the old open invite to all nightmares who don't attack Icela stands, and that's all the invitation that is going to come. It doesn't really change much even if there wasn't, the sole thing is that the nightmares seem content not to attack other nightmares, and so passage through is simple.

Once up in the meadow, Icela barely bothers to take notice of Mabaroshi no Manako, at least until she briefly looks the nightmare in the eyes and recognizes that troubled look. "Do you need something, little friend?" The summoner of nightmares turns her gaze more properly towards Maboroshi, takes out a new sheet of paper and begins to draw.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 19:26:01 100322
It only takes Manako a moment to decide to enter the labyrinth, and it isn't long before she arrives in the meadow.

She bows her head when Icela speaks to her. "Greetings, our most excellent host," she says, in that triple-voice of hers. "We must apologize for our aggressive tone at the conclusion of our first meeting with you." (When Manako made her report, the Nightmare Prince informed her in no uncertain terms that Icela was not to be harmed.) "We must also apologize for not seeking you out sooner. We have been rather distracted by an unrelated project. But that project has stalled for the moment, and thus we sought you out."

She turns the fuchsia eye on Icela's paper for a moment, and then shifts into what she hopes is a more photogenic "posture."
Icela 2018-11-14 19:34:47 100324
The sketching continues, with confident movements and only the occassional glance up towards Manako. "All is forgiven, just do not repeat your mistake." She answers coolly, that's a warning as much as anything. "And I did not request anything from you, so no need to apologize for not seeking me out; unless you mean to say that your failure to seek me out is going to inconvenience me. What's the matter?"
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 19:49:56 100325
Manako inclines her head at the warning. "Noted," she says. "But we simply found you fascinating. An eidolon such as yourself is quite unusual." She pauses, and adds, "Not to mention your ability to travel to the waking world. We are quite curious about you. What is your desire? What drives you?"

She considers Icela's question. "Our project is to create a conduit between the dream world and the waking world," she says. "However, it has had numerous setbacks since its inception. Now we have found that our motivation is quite lacking." No need to mention the other reason it's been lacking ...
Icela 2018-11-14 19:54:07 100327
"What drives me?" Icela looks up and past her paper and just stares at Manako, "It's simple really. I seek to make everyone's world a little bit more like mine. Sharing is caring, wouldn't you think?" She smiles broadly, a cruel tone in her voice and eyes narrowed in anticipation. "I think it'll be quite cathartic." She grins broadly, "In a sense, I'm a conduit like that. Did you know I can bring people here?"
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 20:05:36 100328
Manako nods. "Indeed, indeed," she says, matching Icela's tone. "That is quite a reasonable desire, from where we're standing." She seems just a little less troubled now. "And yes, we observed you doing so once, although we quickly had to flee from our vantage point. Our conduit would allow nightmares to come and play in the waking world."

She straightens up slightly. "You see, we granted the wish of a particular human, a wish which resulted in transforming her body, which thus allowed us a certain measure of control over it," she says. "And we were careful to state terms for ourself which permitted us to possess her. All that is necessary now is for this human to fall into utter despair." She shakes her 'head' in frustration. "But all our efforts thus far have been in vain. The granting of the wish facilitated reconciliation with her beloved mother, rather than driving them apart. Our attempts to prevent her from befriending those who could assist and teach her were in vain. The discovery that we were 'causing trouble', or that we had been manipulating her consciousness, barely affected her at all. Really, we aren't sure how to proceed now."

She looks back at Icela. "You might have encountered this human," she says playfully. "Her name is Narumi."
Icela 2018-11-14 20:09:53 100329
"Well I'm sure no-one could blame you if an angry spirit who hates the very notion of happy families, and who also holds a personal grudge against the girl decides to invite the girl's mother to a luxury nightmare." Icela answers Manako with a broad cruel smirk. "After all, I have reason enough on my own. I'll just... move her up on the list as a personal favor, and you can give me one a similar favor in return later."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 20:18:14 100331
Manako brightens. "Oh, you'd do that for us?" she says. "Thank you! Simply make your request at any time, and if it is within our abilities, we will grant it." She shakes her 'head.' "In all candor, this conversation by itself has done wonders for our motivation," she says. "Do you know, that thrice-foolish vampire La Crima tried to tempt us to return to being the more pleasant dream we once were?"
Icela 2018-11-14 20:25:21 100332
"I'd be meaning to get back at her anyway. Knowing she has a loving family just makes me more motivated." Icela answers in a tone dripping with hatred, and she shakes her head at the other mention, "No, but she was with the Unicorn, so I'm not surprised." She leans back and goes back to her drawing, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 20:30:41 100334
Manako pulls back slightly. "That will be all," she says. "You have indeed already done enough." She lets out a low, dark chuckle. "Truly, the return of our motivation is a reward in and of itself." She rises up, once again seemingly tense and battle-ready, and turns away from Icela. "We shall see you again, in this world or the other," she says. "And once again ... thank you, dear Eidolon." If Icela makes no move to stop her, she moves to leave.